Next Stop, Cluny

As l’Art Roman continued to spread throughout the 10th century and foreward, so did many of the ideologies and institutions that it brought about. The progress of art and architecture take a completely new path in which we can almost see a standardization of structures and images that we can see evolve as the force of Christianity makes its way throughout the development of Western Europe. To help the expansion of this new order, there were several monasteries constructed across Europe. These city-churches were established by various orders, but with essentially the same purpose. Many of these monasteries housed highly regarded relics of saints and martyrs, thus people would take long pilgrimages to these monasteries because it was believed they had supernatural significance. Eventually these pilgrimage paths became established routes from monastery to monastery and became routes of trade, commerce and travel.


The Abbey of Cluny is a Benedectine monastery that was established in 910 by William I, Count of Auvergne and appointed Berno of Cluny as the first abbot of Cluny. From then on the abbey experienced a growth in not only in the physical establishment, with the construction of three additional churches, as well its growth in influence as it grew in recognition. The Cluniastic order established an organizational structure within the abbey that was quite different than the other monasteries of the time. Cluny established a network within its own establishment to better monitor the progress and shift from an agriculturally self-sufficient unit, to an organization could function in a larger scale. With its organized system it became one of the wealthiest monastic orders. The abbots were able to hire manual labor to the work of the monks, so they could dedicate their time to constant prayer, which was their profession. In addition, Cluny excelled in the art of liturgy which aided in the development of a massive amounts of manuscripts, which eventually led to the establishment of the Cluny library. Cluny was able to flourish as one of the leading monasteries from the end of the 10th century through the beginning of the 12th century.


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